UBM plans disposal of 35% stake in five

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The Independent Online

United Business Media is planning to sell off its non-core holdings, which include a 35 per cent stake in five, the commercial broadcaster.

Lord Hollick, its outgoing chief executive,said yesterday he was confident of completing a sale of NOP World, its market research division, by May.

The Labour peer, who will be helping to front the Party's business manifesto in the general election, is leaving UBM after 30 years to join the private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR).

Yesterday he announced his final set of annual results, which included strong profit, dividend and earnings per share growth. He said the company continued to monitor its non core holdings in an "unsentimental" way to maximise value for shareholders.

The company's stake in five, which it owns with the European broadcaster RTL, is its most valuable property. Five increased its audience share from 6.6 per cent to 6.7 per cent last year, while its share of the advertising revenue market rose from 8.1 per cent to 8.3 per cent. Revenues at the terrestrial broadcaster rose to £288.8m from £259.9m and operating profits rose from £8.5m to £19.5m. Lord Hollick said: "That business will only increase in value and we and RTL are working together to make sure we get the right strategic outcome. Our job is to continue to drive value for shareholders and monetise at the right time."

Other holdings likely to come up for sale include stakes in ITN and the Press Association.